The Doula Difference © Angie Helwich

You might be searching the internet, reading parenting blogs, forums, Facebook news feeds, and seeing different images promoting the use of doulas during pregnancy and childbirth. Maybe you’ve never heard of a doula, or maybe a friend used one. What do they do? My partner will be present, won’t he be my doula? Will my care provider work well with a doula? All these questions were the reason I created this image.

Doulas provide non-medical emotional, physical and mental support to you and your partner during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I schedule 1-2 prenatal visits, answer questions, provide education, coping techniques, and more during this time. The last few weeks of pregnancy are full of ever changing emotions. Anxiety, excitement, anticipation. Having someone to bounce off last minute thoughts and fears without worrying your partner or bothering the care provider is invaluable when pregnancy feels it will go on forever. When labor begins spontaneously or during an induction, I will join you when you are ready to help support you during this time. Once baby arrives, I stay for 1-2 hours post-birth to help with breastfeeding assistance, if desired, and make sure both you and your partner are comfortable. Sometime during the first week or two, I will schedule a postpartum visit to make sure all is well, answer any questions, and provide any resources you may need.

Partners find much reassurance in having a doula present, even if they are skeptical to the idea at first. I know my spouse well, they think, a doula might just get in the way. Doulas are sensitive to a couple’s privacy, while helping provide coping techniques, massage, and other support as needed. I can give a break to a father who might have had a sleepless night and in need of a quick nap, to grab a bite to eat, to check on other children or pets at home and support the laboring mother so she is never alone. I find no matter how well read or prepared the partner is going into the birth experience, they still have anxieties and fears they might not want to express to their wife going through all the hard work. Oftentimes they are relieved to have someone there to tell them they’re doing great and everything is progressing well. I rely on my knowledge of labor and birth to suggest techniques or positions you may forget or not know. Together we can be a team to help mama and baby feel supported and safe.

Care providers may or may not have worked with a doula before, and may be curious as to a doula’s role. Doulas do not provide medical support. That is why you have a care provider, and any medical questions you have concerning your pregnancy or labor should be directed to the care provider and nurses and I will remind you of that. I provide continuous support in other ways as your care provider and nurses have other patients to see and won’t be able to provide that continuous support. I can help remind you of questions you may have or help you ask the care provider to clarify any information so you are confident in making informed decisions.

Together we can work as a wonderful team to create a supported, safe environment to welcome your child. Whether you are welcoming your first child or your fourth, medicated delivery or unmedicated, I look forward to answering your questions and working with you.